In recent years, AMD has been on the rise when it comes to desktop processors and graphics cards. It stepped up on the ladder and turned from a company that sold affordable processors, weaker than Intel’s, into a company that gave us the seriously impressive Ryzen CPUs. They’re just as fast as Intel’s, both in single-core performance and multi-threading. However, although Intel struggled to keep up with AMD during the past few years, that’s no longer true in 2022. The 12th generation “Alder Lake” Intel Core processors are now changing the market once again, competing with AMD’s Zen 3 Ryzen family for supremacy. Both Team Red and Team Blue are now offering excellent desktop CPU lineups, so choosing one against the other is more difficult than ever. Which is better in the Intel vs. AMD standup? Should you buy an AMD Ryzen 5000 processor or a 12th Gen Intel Core? Read on and find out:
Both AMD and Intel have capable processors; there’s no question about it. However, when it comes to specs, there are some differences between them. While Intel was almost always first in technological advances in the past, with AMD overshadowing it in the last couple of years, today both companies seem equally advanced. AMD has switched to the 7-nanometer manufacturing process for Zen 3 processors. At the same time, Intel switched to 10-nanometer for their 12th Gen Core processors, launched at the end of 2021.
AMD’s Zen 3 architecture, used for the Ryzen 5000 processors, is composed of up to two core complex dies (CCD). On the other hand, Intel’s Alder Lake 12 Gen Core processors utilize a hybrid architecture that allows the company to make CPUs that can simultaneously include high-performance cores and power-efficient cores, similar to the processors found on smartphones.
All that leads to a series of benefits for both AMD’s Ryzen processors and their Intel counterparts. On one hand, because of the smaller manufacturing process, Ryzen CPUs usually have an increased density of transistors per mm² (just over double), generate less heat (lower TDP), and require less electricity than similar Intel CPUs.
On the other hand, Intel 12 Gen Core processors are able to use their high-performance cores for demanding tasks (like games for example) and their efficient cores for the less demanding ones. This means that Intel processors' performance, heat, and TDP can vary a lot depending on what you’re doing. They can stay cool and power-efficient when you’re doing office work, for instance, and they can significantly increase their own performance at the cost of more power consumed and more heat created when you run intensive applications, like games or video editing applications.
Intel has a tradition of delivering desktop processors with incredible single-core speeds, and that’s true for the 12th Gen Core lineups as well. Some reach and even go over 5.0GHz, for example. However, AMD processors are not far behind, reaching almost similar single-core speeds and performance.
AMD’s Zen 3 architecture makes Ryzen 5000 processors able to deliver high boost clocks, up to 19% more IPC (instructions per cycle/clock) than previous Zen 2 Rzyen 3000 processors, and a lower cache latency.
However, Intel’s 12th Gen Core lineup also features a similar 19% increase in instructions per cycle/clock compared to the 11th Gen Core CPUs, and the new hybrid architecture delivers incredible levels of performance, more than what AMD’s Ryzen 5000 processors can. Here’s a table we compiled with AMD’s current processor lineup, their technical specifications, and retail prices:
When it comes to cache memory, the 7-nm lithography allows AMD to bundle more of it on its Ryzen processors than Intel can. Throughout the AMD Ryzen 5000 lineup, we get between 8 to 96 MB of Level 3 cache memory. However, Intel is not far behind, its Alder Lake CPUs getting from 12 to 30 MB of Smart Cache memory. And, while AMD stands better on higher-end processors, Intel is first when you look at entry-level models.
Most of the Zen 3 AMD Ryzen processors, except for a couple of entry-level models, feature support for PCI Express 4.0. However, all of Intel’s latest Gen 12 Core processors come with support for PCI Express 5.0! Naturally, that means a whole lot more bandwidth is available on this processor lineup. With Intel’s 12th Gen CPUs, you get the best performance possible from future high-end graphics cards that will be PCIe 5-compatible. On the other hand, PCI Express 4 is available on the processors of both companies, meaning that you can benefit from the fastest graphics cards and solid-state drives currently on the market, regardless of whether you use a Ryzen 5000 or a 12th Gen Core processor. In the end, if you want to futureproof your computer, you’d be better prepared with an Intel Core from the 12th generation.
Regarding memory support, both AMD’s Zen 3 Ryzens and Intel’s 12th Gen Core processors support DDR4 RAM running at 3200 MHz. However, Intel’s 12th Gen Core CPUs can also use DDR5 at 4800MHz. AMD’s Ryzen 5000 processors can’t! Take a look at the table below to see what Intel’s 12 Gen Core processors offer and what their real prices are today:
Finally, there are both Intel Core and AMD Ryzen processors that have integrated graphics chips. That can be handy in some computer configurations built for office work, for example, so, in this case, it comes down to personal preference whether you choose Intel or AMD.
One of the most important questions on anyone’s lips is probably which processors offer a better price per value? Although for regular daily work, both AMD and Intel processors are excellent choices, entry-level and mainstream AMD Ryzen processors usually had lower prices than older 11th Gen Intel CPUs. However, nowadays, things are no longer that clear. Intel launched its 12 Gen Core processors at competitive prices, and AMD soon followed with major price cuts for their Ryzen 5000s.
If you want to build a computer for office work, you might not need or want the best of the best in terms of performance, and you might find cheaper bundles with AMD Ryzen 5000 processors. However, that’s also possible with Intel entry-level processors. So, in our opinion, when building office computers, the prices you can find at that moment should be a factor in your choice between Intel and AMD.
But, if what you’re looking for is performance, Intel CPUs are a better choice in terms of price per value right now. For productivity and multithreaded applications, where you’ll probably want a higher-end CPU, things are a bit blurry between AMD’s Ryzen 9 and Intel’s Core i9-12900 processors. However, if you also want maximum gaming performance and to future-proof your PC, we’d say choose Intel without hesitation.
Check the following CPU comparison table if you’d like to compare the lineups of Intel and AMD equivalents. We tried to cover all the essential details of both companies’ current desktop processors, including real-world prices from the Amazon Intel Store and Amazon AMD Store (where a CPU is not available on Amazon, we’ve mentioned the manufacturer suggested retail price), hoping to help you make an informed decision:
NOTE: Overall pricing is essential too, and costs change depending on what team you’re siding with. If you want top performance, you’ll need to invest in an Intel Z690 motherboard that gives you the best of the best, including DDR5 support. However, there are more affordable options, including Intel-compatible motherboards that run on DDR4 only. AMD is in second place right now, although new processors from them should arrive by the end of the year. We’ll see whether it can steal the crown again from Team Blue.
Finally, things are not mixed up for gaming at all: Intel’s 12th Gen processors’ single-core performance is top-notch and better than what you get from AMD’s Ryzen 5000s. Although the Ryzen 5000 processors are not very far behind, and also deliver excellent multi-thread performance, Intel’s are better. While we do advise you to start looking in your budget bracket and go on from there, if performance is what you want, you should probably choose an Intel processor, regardless of whether you’re searching for a high-end or mainstream CPU.
In our opinion, these are the essential things you should know about 2022’s AMD Ryzen processors and Intel Core CPUs. Which ones do you like more, and why? Regardless of where your brand loyalty sits, which company do you think makes the best desktop processors these days? AMD or Intel? Use the comments section below to get in touch with us and let us know your opinion.